1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

5.1 headset and PC hardware

Discussion in 'General Hardware Issues' started by nabed4t, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. nabed4t

    nabed4t Established Techie7 Member

    Hello I'm thinking about getting a 5.1 headset for my pc, I'm just wondering if there is any specific hardware my pc needs in order to utilise the full surround sound functions of the headset?
    Also some suggestions of good headsets would be nice.

    Thanks heaps.
  2. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    What for? I ask because user reviews are very mixed with many saying they still prefer standard stereo headphones for everything but perhaps, watching BluRay or DVD movies - and even then, not all preferred the experience. The problem is localization is just not as precise with the 5.1 headphones for much audio content. Tonal quality may be excellent, but the "effects" aren't - at least after the novelty wears out - for some people.

    Some gamers, on the other hand, may enjoy the effects and ability to detect a game opponent approaching from the rear - but again, that seems to vary player by player.

    Although a little dated now, here is a decent review that may help you decide what to look for: Toms Hardware Surround Sound Headphone Reviews.

    Before plunking good money down, I would try to find someone with a set and see if you can borrow them for a test drive using your audio sources. Then see if you will prefer them over a quality set of standard stereo headphones.

    As for hardware, your current sound card (or integrated) will need to support 5.1 (or 7.1) - but note virtually all have for many years.
  3. nabed4t

    nabed4t Established Techie7 Member

    Thanks for the reply, I've never had the chance to test a surround sound headset before and none of my friends have one I may just have to risk it, I do like the "idea" of a surround sound headset but feel I will probably be disappointed. Thanks for the link, very informative.

  4. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Well, I think I would start with a cheap pair and see if you like the surround effects to start. If you do, and are not like me and keep thinking someone is sneaking up behind you, then go for a quality set. Or you might go to a home audio store and see if they will let you sample some in the showroom.
  5. nabed4t

    nabed4t Established Techie7 Member

    Good idea, hadn't actually thought of that.

    Liking the Corsair Vengeance 1500, might just grab one. For $85 it's pretty good.

    Quick question, is there much difference between Virtual 7.1 and True 5.1? And is there any benefit in using a USB connection over an Analog one apart from your sound card handling the processing?

    Thanks again.
  6. nabed4t

    nabed4t Established Techie7 Member

    After a bit more of a search I found the Corsair Vengeance 1300 might be the better choice as I will be able to use it in conjunction with my surround sound set up in Lounge Room.

    From what I can tell they seem to have the same specs.
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    That would depend entirely on the source (quality of the original recording) and how the extra channels are synthesized, the dispersion qualities of the drivers (speakers), room/headphone acoustics, your hearing and more.

    In a real home theater (5.1 or 7.1) setup, the surround and side speakers are physically located behind you, and to your sides. Both ears detect the sound directly from those speakers AS WELL AS the sound that naturally bounces around the room. The listening room plays a key role in the quality of the sound. These "acoustic qualities" shape the sound and our brains sort out the direction the sound is coming from. Headphones are challenged when it comes to simulating a room.

    Audiophile quality home audio reproduction equipment was my first consumer electronics love - before computers and I've been into computer since the mid 70's. And I can tell you, discrete audio channels (separate channels from microphone to speaker) always sounds more "true" and precise compared to simulated stereo, 5.1, or 7.1. And that is even on systems costing $20,000 and up just for the speakers. So on a $85 set of headphones? I can't imagine realistic surround sound, whether discrete or simulated. That does not mean the "fidelity" (accuracy of the reproduction) is poor. I am just saying the surround effects are not likely to satisfy the discriminating listener. I would just hope the "action" on the monitor would distract from the sound quality.